New Waste FAQ – When does LOLER apply to waste and recycling equipment?

The selection and provision of hygiene facilities on collection vehicles should be risk based.

Employers are required to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk from exposure to hazardous substances (Regulation 6, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) 2002). Factors to be considered include:

  • the nature and type of materials being collected
  • the potential level (low/medium/high) and frequency of contamination
  • levels of containment (eg bags, wheelie bins, boxes)
  • routes of exposure
  • the location of collection activities (eg rural v urban)

Where it is not reasonably practicable to prevent exposure appropriate protection measures should be selected using the following hierarchy of control (Regulations 7(3) to 7(6), COSHH 2002).

  • Adequate washing facilities i.e. wash basins with soap, warm/cold water provision and towels
  • Hand wipes
  • Hand gels

These control measures can be provided separately or in combination (and in conjunction with other measures, eg. provision of personal protective equipment).

Alternative control measures can be employed if it can be demonstrated they are the most effective and reliable control options.

Control of exposure will only be considered adequate if employers can demonstrate they have applied the principles of good practice (Regulation 7(7)(a) and Schedule 2A, COSHH 2002). For example:

  • all relevant routes of exposure are considered
  • measures are proportionate to the health risks
  • most effective and reliable control options are chosen

The key is to develop a set of control measures that are effective, reliable, practicable and workable to control exposure adequately.

Employers should consider the efficacy, as well as pros and cons associated with use, of the measures selected to determine if exposure is adequately controlled.

Employers should be able to demonstrate the basis upon which they have selected the control options including appropriate hygiene measures.

Where fitted, hand wash basins should be maintained in good working condition.

Where provided, employers should ensure sufficient stocks of hand wipes and hand gels are available.

Emergency decontamination procedures and arrangements should be provided. For example, during collection activities if gross contamination occurs (eg from split bags, contact with animal and human waste, acids, alkalis etc) the provision of hand wipes and/or gels alone is unlikely to be sufficient. Where such circumstances are foreseeable, emergency arrangements should be provided, including for example, additional measures that will assist with cleaning (such as a readily available bulk supply of clean water; identification of locally available welfare facilities etc.).

Adequate information, instruction and training will need to be provided to employees. This will include information on how to use the controls provided, maintain good personal hygiene and deal with incidents of gross contamination.

Supervision and monitoring will be needed to ensure that the measures provided are properly used.

The provision of appropriate hygiene measures does not affect the need to provide other control measures, such as suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), including appropriate gloves etc.

Additional information

  • COSHH web page
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) Approved Code of Practice
  • Waste and recycling vehicles in street collection
  • Health and hazardous substances in waste and recycling
  • Hygiene facilities on waste and recycling collection vehicles
  • Research on efficacy of hand cleaning products

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